Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    February 12, 2013 5:30am-6:00am PST

5:30 am
it helps with whatever problem i may have. i think that young people in my age group really enjoy the virtual world program. it's kind of like a game actually. i really enjoyed it. it was exciting for me when i started because, like, i change my avatar every single day just because it was something to do. i think it's just taking the next step into technology and treatment and integrating that into an effective way for young kids to approach treatment. this is a technology-based generation and, therefore, they're encountering technology on a daily basis whether it be social media, courses online, schoolwork, projects. so this addresses their treatment environment in a context that they are very familiar with. jonathan, when and how should a parent first intervene? we have heard from justin and his experience. but overall, what-we know the signs.
5:31 am
we already talked about them. how should they intervene with a potentially problem situation? you know, tami used an important word, which was to have the conversation. i think that is crucial to begin to talk about what they see, what their concerns are and what is going on. it can be very challenging because, you know, as i think bridget and justin mentioned, adolescence is a time of experimentation. it's a time of risk taking. so, you know, one doesn't want to smother your kid or be what is referred to nowadays as a "helicopter parent," which my daughter accused me-but at the same time, one needs to have that conversation and begin to address the issues and point out what your concerns are and maybe set some parameters for what you are looking at and follow up. and see if things are not getting better, if you are
5:32 am
seeing the same things that concern you, it's important to seek help, seek some kind of assessment. you know, what i am really troubled about is really the level of-among the 18- to 26-year-olds, that college age, the binge drinking that is taking place. we hear on the news time in and time out what it is doing, the number of accidents that occur, the number, quite frankly, of violent, violent date issues that we are seeing at least in this area. and so, really what-tami, what does a parent say to a child that wants to have fun because college should be a time when they are having fun? what do you say to a child when they are practicing weekend, you know, binge drinking? i think it's important for parents to have that expectation and to be able to clearly say, you're not
5:33 am
of age-it's important to me that you are responsible with what you are doing and the choices you are making. and i think oftentimes parents just assume it's a rite of passage, that all college students do that. and kids really need to understand that there's responsible drinking and then there's really harmful binge drinking. i think there are some universities around the country that are doing things to try to educate students and not saying that it is okay to drink underage, but if you are drinking then make sure that what you're doing and that you are making good decisions about it. you are taking care of yourself, you are not putting yourself in risky situations. uw, madison in madison has the basics program, which they just started using this year, and it is really to provide feedback and information, some brief intervention, some prevention, if you will, to help students make better decisions, so that they can be happy and successful, which is what they want and it's what their parents want. and, justin, was that your scenario?
5:34 am
did you go on to college and what did you see while you were there? i got into college right out of high school into the [inaudible] school of business and was actually asked to leave a fraternity for drinking too much. so my experience- that was very responsible on their part. yeah, i mean, it really was. i was drinking at such an obnoxious and dangerous level that even for that kind of atmosphere it was deemed inappropriate. and so my experience in college was people were drinking, they were going to classes drunk, and i would think that's pretty common across the board. and so when that happens now, we know that there's an option for someone who really wants to-that has had a problem really continuing college through the sober dorms, etcetera. do you want to talk to us a little bit about that justin? yeah, i have been able to meet some people here on the east coast that have been involved in different organizations like
5:35 am
association for recovery schools, which is a phenomenal program, and i didn't have any access to anything like that at the campus that i went to and i didn't know that those things were even out there. but i believe that those programs were also something that could have been pivotal in my potential recovery to know that those programs existed. not only for college students but for high school students as well, there are recovery schools. a lot of them are attached to a high school in part of it, but there are more and more of those around the country that are helping students be able to transition back to high school. that's where they used, being able to have a safe sober environment is really important for adolescents and for college students. it is very important that parents-to get back to your initial question that parents are supportive of the efforts on the part of the school system or the college. unfortunately, we run into many parents who are just so focused on wanting-being concerned about their child's record and
5:36 am
something being on their record that they immediately take this adversarial stance and they want to just sweep it under the rug and not be supportive of getting that help. that's sad. and i think it's really important that we train and also educate our faculty members, our administrators at different schools, so that every school becomes almost a recovery school and stigma is reduced about the-for young people. i think this is particularly important for different cultures and genders because there's definitely differential stigma associated. beyond the colleges and the staff within the colleges, so let's talk a little bit about primary health care and its role. should physicians be concerned when they're treating a young person or a young adult with these issues?
5:37 am
i think that's an important piece to recovery and getting people the help that they need. certainly physicians should be screening as much as they can. there's a number of very short screeners that are used to actually identify people in need of treatment. and then just offering even training physicians on how to do a brief motivational interviewing session. i know time is always of the essence, but this really can reduce some of the other associated health consequences associated. and also helping the primary care physician avoid being an enabler. unfortunately, again, we see- how so? why don't you talk a little bit about that? we see oftentimes that the parents-if a parent will bring a child to the physician or if the child goes to their own physician that sometimes the substance abuse is hidden or
5:38 am
masked under the label of oh, it is a physical problem, they are stressed out, you know, they need to do something to address this physical issue and not looking at the behavior behind it which may be causing the symptoms. which could also be a mental health issue. and so, you know, i want to get back to that. how do parents who recognize that there may be a behavioral problem, how do they deal with it in terms of getting them the right type of help for a mental health problem? jonathan? i think the key is to not be intimidated by the stigma or concerned about it. there are so many young people today who are coming for and getting the help they need for anxiety, depression, other kinds -bipolar disorders.
5:39 am
and it's crucial to do that. they shouldn't be afraid of that or feel that their child will be marked by that. i think that schools, camps, travel programs, all of these programs, anyone who works in these settings for youth will tell you that a growing percentage of young people who take part in these programs are under the care of a mental health or behavioral health practitioner, maybe receiving some kind of helpful medication, and so the stigma is diminishing and i think parents need to have some trust in that. so jonathan, you assessed a patient that comes in, have talked to the parent, they're willing to do it. what types of programs would you recommend for depression, let's say, if a young person comes in with that problem? well, i think, you know, in terms of evidence-based work, the cognitive, behavioral therapies are really very effective.
5:40 am
you know, there is a whole range of them: there is trauma-focused, cognitive, behavioral therapy, there is dialectical. what would that entail more or less? well, i think all of these programs seek to build healthy young people. they seek to create an awareness, a mindfulness, if you will, about what the young person is experiencing, so the teen knows what they are feeling. are they depressed? are they anxious? are they stressed out? maybe pressuring themselves to achieve? and, being aware of that then they can begin to learn effective coping skills and behaviors. and, tami, i think that is a very key issue-is to get the person that's affected or that needs the intervention to even begin to identify what they are feeling. i think that's a critical point. yes, and i think to take it beyond that to be able to then feel like they can do something to change it.
5:41 am
it's one of the reasons that i like motivational interviewing and using that approach so much because it instills that sense in folks that they can do something different; they have different options. and being able to partner with them and help them figure out what is going to work for them. because what might work for one person is going to be very different from what would work for the next person. being able to help people figure out what changes they can make, how to sustain whatever changes they are doing, and how to make that really incorporated into their life. to me, that is where true recovery comes into play when you can actually take the skills and the strategies that you are learning and then use them. absolutely, and i am glad you mentioned recovery because that's going to be the subject of our next panel. we'll be right back. [music playing]
5:42 am
when you have a drug or alcohol problem, your whole world stops making sense. you can get help for yourself or a loved one and make sense of life again. for information, treatment referral, and most importantly, help call 1-800-662-help. brought to you by the u.s. department of health and human services. [music playing]
5:43 am
the recovery program at rutgers is a unique program that includes housing for students. right now in new brunswick, we can hold 38 students and in newark we can hold 8 students. the housing in new brunswick has been around since 1988. the recovery program itself started around 1983 under lisa laitman. our program and the recovery house we describe as not a treatment program-this isn't like going to rehab. what the recovery house is is a residence hall which supports people in recovery. students have to be sober at least 90 days to get in. you know, i would prefer a longer time than that. but they made a commitment to recovery and they're in 12-step programs. whether they go to aa or na, it doesn't matter, but they need to go to one or the other a few times a week and have a sponsor. i am devin fox. i am a person who is in long-term recovery. what that means for me is that i haven't used a drink or a drug in over 3 years.
5:44 am
and recovery has really provided me with a life that's really worth living, something that i never had before. to look at my dreams that i thought were totally dead, totally dead. i didn't think i was going to go back to school. i didn't think i was going to graduate with my bachelor's. i didn't think i was going to go right back into my master's to get my m.s.w. but that's what this house gave me, the opportunity to do that. it doesn't keep me clean, but, like, it gave the idea that, like, a way that i could do something better. when someone walks into the recovery house and they are in recovery themselves, they get an instant sense of being at home and familiarity. like, it's truly a day of homecoming for them. they get a sense of feeling of safety and belonging, which on a college campus with 48,000 people, many of whom are partying on a thursday or friday night. to have other people that are like you and have kind of the same experiences and the same kind of desires and motivations moving forward. it's really nice. you don't feel different, you feel a part of something and you can really help each other grow, you know, and change. once i had a year sober, that's when i moved into the recovery house. they had some space available.
5:45 am
i jumped at the opportunity. i waited a year and i came back here. i was nervous to come back because i did all my drinking here, most of my drinking was at rutgers. so a year was good and coming in here and being around other people who were in recovery was really helpful for me to get my footing back into school. my grades were not so great in the beginning, so it took me, you know, a little while for that. we do a really full assessment and so even students who present with pretty severe drug and alcohol problems are also screened for mental health problems. so part of their recovery plan when they come here is not only that they have a program of recovery, you know, they go to 12-step meetings, they have a sponsor, but they also have a plan for maintaining their mental health. it's not just about being a student here and getting a degree. we want you to really learn something. but at the same token, we want you to be a well-rounded human being. so when students get sober though and they come here and
5:46 am
look around at other people partying they say, "well, i don't know what i like to do for fun." so part of the things that our office here does in coordination with some of the alumni is help students have fun. i can tell you for sure, i would not have graduated from rutgers, you know, without having lived, you know, here. i think if i had lived in a, you know-this, like, solemn house where everybody just kind of came. there is lots of fun that happened here. i believe there is video game football being played downstairs right now, which i will be partaking in later tonight. there's always people around to talk to and staying up until 3 o'clock in the morning. i could still be a college student and i didn't have to be drinking at 3 o'clock in the morning on a friday night. we talked about any other thing or what was going on, we could watch movies. you know, it was the college experience for me. i think there are a lot of ways to track success. i tend to be more concerned with quality of life issues than i am with actual days of sobriety,
5:47 am
although i think that's important. a lot of our students go to graduate school, go on to law school, medical school, veterinary school. i mean, we have very successful graduates out there. i don't think if they hadn't gotten sober at a young age that that would have been possible. so justin, how can we support young people in recovery? you had mentioned earlier recovery schools. what other areas can we look at? i think one of the most-the single most pivotal moment in my recovery was the power of an opportunity. it was one person, one story, teaching me that my story and my past didn't have to define me for the rest of my life. and i was given an opportunity to lead and empower other people even though i was clearly imperfect and i had made mistakes. but it was in that night in november of 2007 that my life changed by that one individual saying, "you can do this and you can-" who said that to you?
5:48 am
his name was nicholas gerk and he was a 26-year-old who used to volunteer at the rehabilitation program that i was staying in. and he didn't take me to a meeting. he didn't take me to a seminar. he took me back to his house and we just talked and he just let me know what i could do to change to my life. and from that night until today, i am here and i haven't given up. i'm not perfect, but i have been able to communicate a message of hope to people whether it's been with a situation like this here today or one on one with parents and family members. and that was the single most important thing that happened to me in my recovery. and currently are you engaged in other peer type support initiatives? yes, as a matter of fact, there's a grassroots movement happening across the nation right now called young people in recovery. and this movement, you can find us on facebook and twitter, of course. we're able to raise awareness and advocate and develop skills for young people to help other young people seek recovery and
5:49 am
definitely, definitely reduce the stigma around that. and tami, talk a little bit more about other aspects of supporting young people in recovery to make sure that they sustain their sobriety. i think one of the things that is really important not to miss is, you know, kids need to have fun and if the only fun that you have is when you're using then being sober is not going to be very appealing to that particular group. so one of the things that we try to do at connections is to try to have sober, fun activities that people can be involved in every day. we have a huge mentor group where people when they've obtained some sobriety they can become a mentor and they can give back and we have people who stick around for a really long time because they benefit as much as the newer folks coming in. so i think being able to create that community, that support, to be able to see other people doing it is really important. especially other people your age doing it.
5:50 am
that's correct. why is that important, jonathan, to get people to really be engaged in planning their own sustainable road in recovery? well, you know, there's a term we use a lot in social work, you know, that you need to own the problem or the challenge. i think it's very motivating. you know, justin spoke very movingly about owning that and taking that responsibility. that's really crucial. it's also very developmentally appropriate for teens and young adults because that's what they're doing. they are exploring and they are defining who they are, what their values are, how they handle situations. so this fits beautifully in with that challenge for them. i also just wanted to mention about peer support. working primarily with the jewish community, there are many jewish holidays that stress enjoying and
5:51 am
having fun and drinking wine. there's a myth that jews don't have these problems, which is completely untrue. but what we do, for instance, in terms of an upcoming holiday which starts next week, purim, the celebration of jews avoiding getting killed in the old days. and there's a tradition that people have to drink heavily and that it's a misunderstanding of the text about it, but nonetheless it's quite popular. and we specifically hold youth events, sober purim events, so that young people can celebrate it and can say to us, just as you mentioned tami, "my gosh, this is the first time in 5 years that i've celebrated this holiday in sobriety. and you know what? i had fun," and that's a critical point for them. absolutely. and bridget, we can also talk about not only the peer
5:52 am
support but peer support can be gotten in many ways. talk to us a little bit about the new technologies, the new media, and what young people are doing through new media in order to support each other. that's a fabulous question and again i think it's so developmentally appropriate and appropriate for how young people are communicating these days, as you mentioned about facebook and twitter. young people connect via technology and so social networking sites, cell phone technology, text messaging-these types of technologies can be very powerful either to create a peer-to-peer mentoring program or support program and/or through some type of adult-sponsored program for young people. and justin, there are some existing efforts where people can blog, go in. i know that we at the site have opportunities for people to go in and connect with others.
5:53 am
talk to us specifically about young people in recovery and what might be available. well actually right now on the young people in recovery facebook, you can go on there and ask questions and see what kinds of services that we can connect other people with and facilitate those services or ask those questions that they might not be ready to ask somewhere else, but they can say "hey, is this-is what i am doing, is this really a problem?" or "would you consider me an alcoholic or a drug addict?" and it provides that safe way to ask questions. they can send us messages or emails or anything like that and this movement, one of the great things that we wanted to do through it was have a movement of, a movement for young people by young people. so there isn't a single person that is a part of it that isn't somebody like myself. there's a ton more justins out there and some great people aside from me who are making these things happen across the country. and i think it acts as a standalone, just being inspirational by being that model of recovery and
5:54 am
that life can be extraordinary. i don't have enough time to go into it, but, you know, my life today is absolutely extraordinary and my father just turned 60 years old a couple of weeks ago and he was able to call me and thank me for what i have shown him what a life can about and that's a gift. absolutely. absolutely. there are, of course, other options where folks can go in there's in the rooms and there's quite a number of areas where i think they can create even subgroups within those that can be just for, by, and about young people. correct, jonathan? absolutely. in fact, we have one of the most helpful activities that many of our young people do is that they get together and they go to young people's aa meetings and, you know, they will text each other or make plans to meet through facebook or twitter and go together and
5:55 am
it's tremendously reinforcing. it really helps them. and within the mental health community i think there are some-that folks who may be co-existing conditions or co-occurring can either choose to go into the recovery for addiction or recovery for mental health. correct? or they can go to the groups called double trouble. is there really one that is called double trouble? yes. amazing. talk to me a little bit about that, i'm not too familiar. well you know, i think again as our knowledge has expanded and the stigma has decreased, you know, people are finding out that there are many factors which have contributed to their substance abuse. and certainly a whole range of effective disorders, of emotional disorders, whether it is depression, whether it's a bipolar disorder, can really precipitate or
5:56 am
aggravate substance use. so being able to go and really be more open about that is really crucial. in the old days, i remember going way back, it was almost forbidden to talk about seeing your therapist or, god forbid, taking medication. that has tremendously changed. i think that's for the better. and tami, talk to me about how can family and friends best support someone that is in recovery? i think for family and friends to be willing to talk about it, to be willing to be part of the solution. to not necessarily pretend it's not there or hope it goes away or assume that the person can handle it. to really be willing to be part of the team, to be part of the solution for that person. and one of my hopes is, we're talking about so many different ways that people can come in to the system and into support and i hope we can get to a point where there's no wrong door for somebody to enter.
5:57 am
whether it's mental health issues or substance use issues or bullying or any of that. wherever you come into contact with the system, that you can get to the right place and to folks who can support you. double trouble to me is "hey, we have two issues that we need to deal with but we don't have to work twice as hard." we can use some of the same coping skills and strategies to deal with both. absolutely. and i want to remind our audience that national recovery month is celebrated every september and we hope that if you're in this audience and you have heard what is said here, if you're a young person that has a problem, you can certainly call our hotline for help. if you're someone that's in recovery, you can certainly look towards for information and connectedness with those that are in recovery and we really want the young people, young adults, and youth to
5:58 am
really get more connected and find people that are similar that are doing a tremendous amount to reduce stigma and to continue to celebrate their recovery. thank you for being here, it was a great show. for a copy of this program or other programs in the road to recovery series, call samhsa at 1-800-662-help or order online at and click multimedia. [music playing] every september, national recovery month provides an opportunity for communities like yours to raise awareness of substance use and mental health problems. to highlight the effectiveness of treatment and that people can and do recover. in order to help you plan events and activities in commemoration of this year's recovery month observance,
5:59 am
the free recovery month kit offers ideas, materials, and tools for planning, organizing, and realizing an event or outreach campaign that matches your goals and resources. to obtain your copy of this year's recovery month kit and gain access to other free publications and materials related to recovery issues, visit the recovery month web site at or call 1-800-662-help. [music playing]